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Universidad del Valle de México faculty develop three dimensional scanner

New tool to be used in shipyards to fix damaged propellers

23/10/2012


UVM faculty develop three dimensional scanner

Engineers Osbaldo Ysaac García Ramos and Néstor Antonio Morales Navarro, Engineering professors from Universidad del Valle de México Campus Tuxtla, have created a technology project that will help the Mexican Navy maintain ship propellers. The project is funded by the Navy and CONACYT and was created based on the Navy’s need to conduct maintenance on propellers of the ships that are anchored in the shipyard located in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.

The maintenance of ship propellers takes a great deal of time and needs to be done by the vessel’s operators. However, thanks to professors Osbaldo Ysaac and Nestor Antonio Morales, they have developed a Tridimensional Scanner for large objects. This new resource takes images at a variety of different positions of boat propellers, and through these images creates a three-dimensional model of the propeller.

"You may ask why do we need this and how can it be used by the Navy, well, obtaining the three-dimensional model of the propeller enables them to create maintenance molds that the Navy can use to more efficiently and accurately fix propellers on different ships. The computer is a robotic manipulator with five degrees of freedom, using next-generation technology with high-precision motors, uses a vision system called "active stereoscopic vision" and also has a computer that acquires and stores information that can be processed to create three-dimensional models of the propeller.” said Professor Osbaldo Ysaac.

The Navy’s main argument for putting out the call for universities to create a project that would help in the maintenance of boat propellers was to have a tool that would make maintenance more efficient while reducing the costs and time needed to fix propellers. If a propeller has not been properly maintained they can stop working properly.

With the three-dimensional scanner for large objects, the time and cost associated with this maintenance are reduced. What used to take three weeks can now be done in one week. The project can be used for any type of boat that has a three-bladed propeller and is between 50 and 100 meters.

"A propeller can cost between 300 thousand dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the size of the boat and the propeller does not have a specific lifetime. You cannot tell if a propeller has a year or two or three of continued life. This project can help repairs and thus prolong their operation," said Professor Ysaac.

There is a shipyard in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, which is focused on maintenance and repairs. The shipyard serves Mexican boats as well as ships from Japan, Spain, England, etc. "With the three-dimensional scanner the Navy will facilitate maintenance boats including those of allies and friends," said the professors.

Finally, Professor Garcia Ramos commented that this project was supported by five students from UVM Campus Tuxtla, from the area of ​​Mechatronics Engineering, "the students supported the various stages of development of the system’s electronic components, because the system is divided into two stages, the first stage is the robotic manipulator and the second stage is the software that performs the processing and generation of the three-dimensional model of the propeller.

"Without doubt, the project was very difficult, but it proves that through dedication you can achieve great success," the professors concluded.

This article was originally written in Spanish and has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.